Set in an idyllic landscape, the fictional Russian state of Chernarus, DayZ revolves around a massive new zombie outbreak.
Marek Spanel of Bohemia Interactive, manufacturer of the ARMA combat sim series, must be a very happy man, having seen sales of ARMA 2: Combined Ops increase fivefold on Steam in the past six months. The reason? DayZ. A mod for the ARMA 2 expansion pack Operation Arrowhead which essentially transforms the world into a post-apocalyptic mess and its denizens into feral zombies.
In DayZ, you are unceremoniously dumped on a beach far from anywhere. The primary objective is to survive at any cost. Really though, DayZ is whatever you make of it. You can choose to be the humble benefactor, taking out the zombie population and helping out other players however you can. You could, alternatively, choose the path of the bandit and kill other players on site for their weapons and ammunition. DayZ will shock you with its demanding realism and jaw-dropping attention to detail.
DayZ is by no means perfect and is prone to bugs, though admittedly it's constantly updated for improvement. The control interface provided by the base ARMA game is awkward and takes a bit of getting used to.
And yet people are joining in droves to play it. It says a lot that the game, which is currently in an alpha stage of development, can already boast such a huge user base; on any given twenty-four hour period there are 150,000 players online. There are currently over 700,000 unique players.
Contrary to what other reviewers are saying, installation is a breeze. As long as you already own Arma 2 and Operation Arrowhead (retailing on Steam at €25), then installation of DayZ takes (literally) just a few clicks.
DayZ is a recommendation for literally anyone. No matter who you are, you will have fun playing this game. Get it.